Book Of Numbers Essay

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The Book of Numbers – in Hebrew, Bəmidbar, meaning “in the wilderness [of Sinai]” – describes the the Israelites’ long journey in the desert to take possession of God’s promised land. The Jewish Study Bible divides Numbers into three major units based on “geographical criteria” and “ideological motifs”. The first unit spans from Numbers 1.1 to 10.10 and details the Israelites’ encampment at Mount Sinai and their preparation for the long journey. The second unit picks up this narrative and describes the generation‐long march in the desert from Sinai to Moab. The final unit, starting with Numbers 22.2, narrates the encampment on the plains of Moab before entering the promised land of Canaan. Although the stories in these three units take place…show more content…
In unit three, this new generation of Israelites finally prepares to enter the promised land as a free‐born national entity. The main concern of this unit is the long-term stability of God’s presence in the community, as God punishes any other divine being who might threaten his place after his people’s establishment in the promised land. The main story of this unit is the story of Balak and Balaam (Numbers 22-24). At the close of the forty-year wandering, Balak, the king of Moab, becomes alarmed of the Israelites’ intention of possessing the promised land and induces diviner Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam sends back the word that he can only do what God commands, and he ultimately ends up blessing the Israelites instead, forcing Balak to retreat. In this case, Balaam fails because of his attempt to override God using another diviner (isn’t Balaam the diviner?). Balaam is also later diminished in value in Numbers. Numbers 25:1-9 describes how Israel engaged in sexual immorality and idolatry with the women of Moab, resulting in God 's anger and a deadly plague. Numbers 31:16 attributes this to the advice of Balaam: “Yet they are the very ones who, at the bidding of Balaam, induced the Israelites to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so that the LORD 's community was struck by the

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